I’m praying for Christmas health and healing. Christmas is a time when people think about giving, and health is surely one of the greatest gifts that anyone could ever receive. The Bible teaches that health is natural to man, who is made “in the image of God.” (Genesis 1:27) Health is God’s gift to all of us.
Christ is what gives health and healing. Christ is not a person, but God’s incorporeal idea that constantly comes to human thought to heal. Christ inspires and regenerates life with peace and wholeness, and that is a gift that is available to us any hour of the day and any day of the year.
New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science in 1866, sought on several occasions to convey the real meaning of Christmas. At one of these times, she wrote: “Christmas respects the Christ too much to submerge itself in merely temporary means and ends. It represents the eternal informing Soul recognized only in harmony, in the beauty and bounty of Life everlasting, — in the truth that is Life, the Life that heals and saves mankind. An eternal Christmas would make matter an alien save as phenomenon, and matter would reverentially withdraw itself before Mind. . . The true spirit of Christmas elevates medicine to Mind; it casts out evils, heals the sick, raises the dormant faculties, appeals to all conditions, and supplies every need of man. It leaves hygiene, medicine, ethics, and religion to God and His Christ, to that which is the Way, in word and in deed, — the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, p. 259-260)
Health would be the gift at Christmas time, as on every other occasion, if “matter would reverentially withdraw itself before Mind.” The more we turn away from the belief of living in a material world and seek to understand God as Spirit and to cultivate spirituality in ourselves, the more we are freed to invite this gift into our own lives and the lives of others.
Mrs. Eddy understood something that can help us today: We must not get so deeply drawn into excess human activity during the holiday season that we close the door on spirituality. People commonly in our day speak of “the commercialization of Christmas” that seems to dominate during the holiday. Mrs. Eddy was well aware of this tendency toward materiality; what St. Paul called “the carnal mind,” which he said was “enmity against God.” (Romans 8:7) Mrs. Eddy sought, by her example, to draw all of us to the contemplation of spirituality at this season.
She makes this point: “Christmas to me is the reminder of God’s great gift, — His spiritual idea, man and the universe, — a gift which so transcends mortal, material, sensual giving that the merriment, mad ambition, rivalry, and ritual of our common Christmas seem a human mockery in mimicry of the real worship in commemoration of Christ’s coming.
“I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth’s appearing.” (Miscellany, p. 262)
How would silent turning to God for health be practical, at Christmas time or at any time of the year?
Here’s one example: Some years ago a Christian Science nurse attended the birth of a baby. A licensed mid-wife was scheduled to deliver the infant, but the baby came before the midwife arrived. So the Christian Science nurse guided the father in delivering the baby. When the infant was born, she was having difficulty breathing. The Christian Science practitioner attending the case was called to pray about this situation. The father relayed the practitioner’s prayers to mother and nurse, while the mother was active in declaring aloud God’s presence and power to heal right at that moment. The Christian Science nurse, who was also praying, was led to turn the new-born over on her stomach, patting her gently. Immediately the baby started to breathe with less effort. Soon the midwife, who was not a Christian Scientist, arrived and asked how the Christian Science nurse knew what to do. The midwife declared that her course of action saved the baby.
In an article entitled “The Cry of Christmas-tide,” Mrs. Eddy writes: “In different ages the divine idea assumes different forms, according to humanity’s needs. In this age it assumes, more intelligently than ever before, the form of Christian healing. This is the babe we are to cherish. This is the babe that twines its loving arms about the neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 370)
With every Christian healing that we experience, we find ourselves joining the angelic chorus in proclaiming: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14)
© 2011 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire